Mobile Phones

Gone have the days where you used to go on holiday to Africa, travel and leaving civilization and its technology behind. Overland travelers still leave civilization behind but technology is brought along for the ride!

My suggestion: leave your mobile phone at home for that complete: Enjoy your holiday, no stress! However, if you can’t do without your cell phone, take a few precautions:

  • If you are away for a long period, consider buying a phone which is shock/weather/water proof-ish. The outdoors phones are much more sturdy and will be able to deal with dust etc encountered on your overland tour in Africa.
  • If buying a new phone is not on the cards, get at least a zip-lock bag to keep your phone dust proof.
  • Don’t walk around at crowded bus-stations with your cell phone on your ear, you will be a sitting (or walking!) duck for petty thieves.
  • Bring a travel-plug for your charger.
  • Don’t count on being able to charge your phone every day most especially if you are travelling in remote areas.
  • If you are going on an overland tour, invest in a cigarette lighter charger.
  • Make a back-up of your address book/calendar/notes. If your phone gets stolen, at least you can still get hold of mum, telling her you ae okay!
  • If you are thinking of talking longer on phone, you can buy international call bundles from various telephone networks.

If you are going to be in one country for a while, consider buying a local “Pay-As-You-Go” SIM card. This will allow you to make local calls at local rates. Next to that sending SMSs to your overseas friends is much cheaper than with your international SIM.

Bear in mind that if you have your UK phone with you in South Africa and someone calls you, they pay for the UK to border part of the call, you pay for the border to South Africa part of the call. If you are making a call to someone in let’s say France, you pay for the call to go from South Africa to the UK, and then from the UK to France. So a local SIM card will definitely reduce your costs. Alternatively you can just send your friends a call-me back SMS 🙂